Funding for a plan to manage Haro Woods is among several items in the municipal budget with direct effects on Cadboro Bay.
Saanich’s 2019 municipal budget includes funds for the implementation of the Haro Woods Park Management passed in December 2018.
Saanich has budgeted $39,000 in 2019 for the plan. In 2020 and 2021, Saanich respectively budgeted $27,000, and $21,000 for 2022 and 2023, according to municipal documents.
Council unanimously endorsed the draft management plan on Dec. 10, 2018 after a lengthy drafting process, whose central source of controversy was whether the municipality should permit “active” biking in the municipal portion of Haro Woods, a wooded area totaling 8.8 ha in the Cadboro Bay neighbourhood, consisting out of four parcels with three different owners: the District of Saanich, the Capital Regional District (CRD), and the University of Victoria (UVic).
The approved plan permits family cycling in the municipal part of the park, but closes it to off-trail bicycling, confirming a pre-existing ban.
This decision appears as a victory for area residents, who had raised concerns about the ecological impacts of off-trail bicycling in the area, which over the years acquired a do-it-yourself ethos, with riders constructing their own jumps.
The approved funding will now restore areas impacted by off-trail use by removing off-trail biking obstacles; replace invasive plants with native plantings; and improve educational opportunities in the park.
Council also approved two other items that directly impact the area. Saanich council granted the Goward House Society $20,000, the same amount of funding received by the Cadboro Bay Village Business Improvement Association through a property tax levy for area businesses.
Sarah Rosse, president of the association, said in a letter in council that the association plans to use the funding towards established community events such as Cadboro Bay Day at Gyro Park, as well as lauch new ones.
“We are planning to increase our advertising and are looking at furthering our partnership with UVic to increase our visibility in the area,” she said. “We are also currently exploring the idea of hosting a movie night in the village.”